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Give a toot this coming Saturday

November 19, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this coming Saturday (Nov. 24) members of the MVRHA (Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association) will host the 2018 Whistle Blow. The event features steam whistles from railroad engines, steam boats, factories, and more.

"We receive about 20 whistle holders mostly coming from Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and south of Ohio," said MVRHA treasurer Neil D. Frasca. "Most of them come from abandon Steam Locomotives but there are a few from Steam Freighters and a couple from factories."

Frasca said the event is good fundraiser for the MVRHA and it would not be possible without the help of a local business owner.

"This is our annual event in which Mr. Henry Marsilio, owner of Mechanical Engineers of Youngstown, designed this steam apparatus to hold up to six whistles," Frasca said. "Any whistle that is operated by steam can be attached to this steam apparatus."

The B&O Station on Market Street in Youngstown is used because it has an available steam line that is still in service. Steam heat used to be the norm for heating the large buildings in downtown Youngstown at one time.

The device that Marsilio designed fits on a trailer and can easily be connected to the service line. Once connected, whistles are attached and the lines are charged, then the sound of the steam whistles can echo across the city.

Frasca said Marsilio's work is heard a lot around town. The steam whistle which is at the YSU Football Field that is utilized in the home YSU Football Games was installed by Marsilio along with the Mechanical Engineer of YSU. This particular whistle is close to a factory steam whistle that would have announced shift changes in the mills back in the early 1900s.

One whistle that can be expected during the 2018 Whistle Blow is the one off The Youngstown Sheet and Tube Engine 301 that presently is displayed at the Western Reserve Village in the Canfield Fairgrounds. The whistle is removed and brought to the event and people can hear the sound the old engine used to put out through its large brass whistle.

For many whistle owners, this represents the one and only opportunity to see if the whistle works. A person who obtains an old whistle would be hard pressed to find a place that could offer the needed pressure to sound it.

"It takes a great amount of Steam to function the steam whistle properly," said Frasca.

As for the event, it is free and open to the public. Those who have whistles to hook up are asked for a $20 donation. For anyone who does not have a whistle, but would love to give a toot, they can do so for a $1 donation.

All funds raised go towards the MVRHA's efforts.

"Such funds are to establish the 'Jim Marter Yard' on Poland Avenue which will be a museum of 'Steel Railroad Cars' that were utilized within our past steel mills," Frasca said.

For more information on the MVRHA and the 2018 Whistle Blow, visit the web site at



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